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Discussion Starter #1
Would it be worth my time to get a letter on this model 1917 I got? Do I use the serial on the bottom of the butt or the number on the crane? Folks, this is a bad ass gun. I've been in love with this weapon since I got it. You need one in your collection I think!!
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That is up to you. Do you suspect it was/is something special? Use the number on the crane. The one on the butt is a military I.D. number.
 

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Panerai024, welcome to Coltforum.

It is a purely a personal call whether you would like to spend the $75 (and up) for a Colt Archives Letter. It does not take much time to order the letter, but then you wait for months.

Here is a link to Colt Archives Services, where you can read the price list and download the order form for a Colt letter.

Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC > Customer Services > Archive Services
 

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If the gun has a service serial number stamped on the butt I think some of the members know how to check to see when it was shipped from the factory, perhaps where it was shipped as well. This would not require you paying Colt for a letter, but it might depend on who happens to read your post.
Another alternative is to buy the Collector Grade Publications book Colt's New Service Revolver by Timothy J. Mullin, or a copy of Charles Pate's US Handguns of WWII.
 

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If the 1917s were shipped to similar locations as the Model 1911, things could get interesting. Here's a few examples of 1911 "Shipped To" destinations:

Serial numbers 150301-150400: Commanding Officer, New York Arsenal, Governor's Island for Gen Pershing & Staff.

185801-187200: USMC, 1100 Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA.

367057: Ford Motor Co.

553095: Coast Defense, Ordnance Officer, Key West, FL.

559387: U. S. Chemical Plant, Sultrill, VA.

John Gross
 

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Unless you suspect that it may be "special", a letter is likely $75 to confirm what you already know: it was bought and shipped to the US military.

The other reason to letter is that you already know the gun is special and you want a letter to confirm it, thus verifying to a potential buyer that the gun had not been tampered with and is in its original configuration.
 

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If the 1917s were shipped to similar locations as the Model 1911, things could get interesting. Here's a few examples of 1911 "Shipped To" destinations:

Serial numbers 150301-150400: Commanding Officer, New York Arsenal, Governor's Island for Gen Pershing & Staff.

185801-187200: USMC, 1100 Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA.

367057: Ford Motor Co.

553095: Coast Defense, Ordnance Officer, Key West, FL.

559387: U. S. Chemical Plant, Sultrill, VA.

John Gross
I have what appears to be a standard commercial Gov't Model in the C4388x Ser.# range that I decided to letter. It came back as shipped to: Commanding Officer, 3rd Ambulance Co., New York, on June 22, 1916 in a 5 gun shipment. With a little research, I found an article from the June 29, 1916 edition of the N.Y. Times, stating that this company left Camp Whitman with their newly issued .45's. I would never have known this if I didn't letter this piece.
 
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